The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust

Overview

More information and sample text and photos available on the companion web site
http://www.nyupress.org/jewishlife

Winner of the 2001-2002 National Jewish Book Award, Reference

Winner, Best Reference Resource, 2001, Library Journal

Winner, Editor's Choice Award, Reference, 2001, Booklist

Winner, Best ...

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Overview

More information and sample text and photos available on the companion web site
http://www.nyupress.org/jewishlife

Winner of the 2001-2002 National Jewish Book Award, Reference

Winner, Best Reference Resource, 2001, Library Journal

Winner, Editor's Choice Award, Reference, 2001, Booklist

Winner, Best Reference Book, 2001, Association of Jewish Libraries

New York University Press announces with pride the publication of a remarkable project, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust. Edited by Dr. Shmuel Spector and the late Dr. Geoffrey Wigoder and published in conjunction with Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Remembrance Authority of Israel, the Encyclopedia represents the fruit of more than three decades of labor and stands as one of the most important and ambitious projects the Press has published. Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel contributed the foreword.

Today throughout much of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, only fragmentary remnants of once thriving Jewish communities can be found as evidence of more than two thousand years of vibrant Jewish presence among the nations of the world. These communities, many of them ancient, were systematically destroyed by Hitler's forces during the Holocaust. Yet each of their stories-from small village enclaves to large urban centers-is unique in its details and represents one of the countless intertwined threads that comprise the rich tapestry of Jewish history.

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust captures these lost images. In three volumes, it chronicles the people, habits and customs of more than 6,500 Jewish communities that thrived during the early part of the twentieth century only to be changed irrevocably by the war. It clarifies precise locations of settlements based on documents and maps found in recently opened archives; it traces their development through history; it shares small details of everyday life-the culture, the politics, and the faith that inspired the people; and its photographs put faces on the immeasurable loss.

Based on decades of research at Yad Vashem, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust tells the story of thousands of Jewish communities in concise prose, illustrated with maps and poignant images of a world that can no longer be visited. The Encyclopedia is a rich source of information for students, teachers, genealogists and anyone interested in the pageant of Jewish life through the ages.

From the Foreword

"But the enemy did not only annihilate individuals; his aim was also to destroy our social structures, our economic foundations, religious and secular, our schools, our institutions, our libraries, our workshops, our synagogues, our cultural centers-in a word: our communities.

. . . In the Jewish world one knew a town by its Jewish life. Belz and Munkacs, Bialystok and Amsterdam, Kiev and Lille and Zablotow-offering families and individuals a sense of security and countless opportunities for fulfillment, each community had its own particular characteristics and problems, its roots, its challenges, and its ambitions. . . . To understand the extent of the unprecedented crimes committed against the Jewish people in Europe is not enough; one must also seek to understand the life of this people before the catastrophe." —Elie Wiesel

Features
-Three volumes
-1,824 pages
-81/2 x 11
-More than 6,500 communities profiled
-600 b&w photographs and illustrations
-17 pages of maps
-21-page glossary
-Complete bibliography
-Index of communities including alternate spellings and pronunciations
-Index of personalities

Go to companion web site

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A major contribution to modern Jewish history. The entries are precise, clear and reliable. The photos are priceless and often rare."

-Jehuda Reinharz,Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History and President, Brandeis University

"An outstanding tribute to the vanished communities as well as a valuable document . . . . The editors have created a valuable resource for students, scholars, genealogists, and anyone interested in modern history. They have given the dead a monument and a name."

-Booklist,starred review

"There's been so much written about the Holocaust itself, but this will show the great sweep of Jewish culture that existed before."

-Francine Klagsbrun,author of Jewish Days

"Majestic."

-Publishers Weekly,starred review

"Eagerly awaited."

-Library Journal,April 15, 2002

Library Journal
Eagerly awaited
Jewish Virtual Library
Monumental.....The book provides a wealth of information.
Choice
This important and well-illustrated summary of the 22-volume Hebrew-language Pinkasei Kehillot provides information often hard to find about some 6,500 European (and some North African) Jewish communities that were destroyed or greatly affected by the Holocaust . . . Highly recommended
Publishers Weekly
"This majestic three-volume encyclopedia, abridged from a 30-volume set in Hebrew and with a foreword by Elie Wiesel, chronicles Jewish life before and during the Holocaust. Arranged alphabetically by town, thousands of entries explore centuries of Jewish life. Some entries, particularly for large cities, provide information on Jewish residents as early as the Middle Ages and discuss the fate of Jews during the Black Death persecutions (1348-1349) and various pogroms from the 17th to 20th centuries. Each entry provides vital information on the town's Jewish inhabitants on the eve of German occupation, gives the dates of Jewish roundups and mass executions and estimates how many Jews from that community survived the war. Except in very rare cases (as with Copenhagen), the survival statistics are horrifying. But the encyclopedia offers more than statistics: the numbers come to life through more than 600 black-and-white photographs, most of which are from the archives of Israel's Yad Vashem museum. Here we see the vibrancy of Jewish life before the war kolkhoz theater groups and swing bands, weddings and riotous Purim parties, shops and synagogues. Several of the photographs depict Jewish military units from WWI; others show Jewish young people looking bored in chemistry class or diligently trying to master the violin during orchestra practice. A final 56-page section entitled "In Memoriam" provides unforgettable, haunting photographs of the Holocaust itself. This three-volume set is a required acquisition for libraries and anyone interested in Jewish studies."
Booklist
"A work that depends our sense of the Holocaust's enormity."
Publishers Weekly
This majestic three-volume encyclopedia, abridged from a 30-volume set in Hebrew and with a foreword by Elie Wiesel, chronicles Jewish life before and during the Holocaust. Arranged alphabetically by town, thousands of entries explore centuries of Jewish life. Some entries, particularly for large cities, provide information on Jewish residents as early as the Middle Ages and discuss the fate of Jews during the Black Death persecutions (1348-1349) and various pogroms from the 17th to 20th centuries. Each entry provides vital information on the town's Jewish inhabitants on the eve of German occupation, gives the dates of Jewish roundups and mass executions and estimates how many Jews from that community survived the war. Except in very rare cases (as with Copenhagen), the survival statistics are horrifying. But the encyclopedia offers more than statistics: the numbers come to life through more than 600 black-and-white photographs, most of which are from the archives of Israel's Yad Vashem museum. Here we see the vibrancy of Jewish life before the war kolkhoz theater groups and swing bands, weddings and riotous Purim parties, shops and synagogues. Several of the photographs depict Jewish military units from WWI; others show Jewish young people looking bored in chemistry class or diligently trying to master the violin during orchestra practice. A final 56-page section entitled "In Memoriam" provides unforgettable, haunting photographs of the Holocaust itself. This three-volume set is a required acquisition for libraries and anyone interested in Jewish studies. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
These three volumes are a translation and abridgment of the 30-volume Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities published in Hebrew by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Remembrance Authority of Israel. Over 6000 communities are profiled by an international set of scholars in these glossy, double-column pages, which are deftly illustrated and have an easy-to-read typeface. Each community is listed alphabetically in bold face by historical name, with current name, district, country at the time, and current location (e.g., Poland, today Belarus) also given as appropriate. A historical survey follows, dating from the first recorded appearance of a Jewish community to its ultimate destruction during the Holocaust. Entries on major communities (for example, Berlin) may run over ten pages; many smaller communities are given, at the very least, a long, detailed paragraph noting major industries and examining cultural and political life. Scholars, of course, will welcome these volumes, but informed lay readers, including Jewish genealogists, will find them useful and informative as well. Patrons will want to use these volumes in combination with the Encyclopaedia Judaica (1972) for their initial research on Jewish communities. Libraries should also be sure to have one of the new single-volume Holocaust encyclopedias and guides, The Holocaust Encyclopedia (LJ 5/1/01), The Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (Facts on File, 2000), or The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust (LJ 3/15/01). Highly recommended for libraries with strong Jewish studies or Holocaust holdings. Paul Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Scholars, of course, will welcome these volumes, but informed lay readers, including Jewish genealogists, will find them useful and informative as well. . . . Highly recommended…
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814793565
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2001
  • Pages: 1824
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 5.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Shmuel Spector is an editor, teacher and writer. Formerly the secretary general of Yad Vashem, he is currently the director of the Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities project.

Geoffrey Wigoder was Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia Judaica.

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